For the second consecutive offseason, the Washington Redskins have traded for a veteran quarterback.
On Wednesday, the team officially acquired quarterback Case Keenum from the Denver Broncos. Further conditions and terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“It feels great,” Keenum said. “Honestly we are really excited. My wife and I we know we’ve been around a little bit and moved around, you know I had an interesting year last year but we’re ready to look forward. We know that the Redskins have been really close to being really good for a while now and I’m excited to be a part of that.”
The addition provides competition for Colt McCoy, the only healthy member under contract in the quarterbacks room. The Redskins, who could still potentially add to the group in the draft, have no timetable for Alex Smith as he continues to recover from the leg injury he sustained in November, while quarterbacks Josh Johnson and Mark Sanchez are now both classified as free agents.
“With only Colt [McCoy] on our roster we had to do something,” head coach Jay Gruden said. “We still may address it in the draft, who knows? But we have to have two quarterbacks in OTA’s and for someone to come in here and compete with Colt. We all feel great about Colt without a doubt but he’s had his injury history as well, and we anticipate a competitive camp with those two guys. And if we add a third guy via the draft or somewhere else, we’ll roll the ball out there and let them play, but I feel good about Colt and Case’s skillset; they are very similar so it’ll be easy to draw up plays for those two guys.”
Take a look at photos of newly acquired Redskins quarterback Case Keenum.
Keenum, a starter for Vikings and Broncos over the last two years, respectively, has posted consecutive seasons with career numbers.
In Denver last season, Keenum started all 16 games for the first time in his career, compleing 63.3 percent of his passes for 3,890 yards and 18 touchdowns, along with two rushing scores, and 15 interceptions. The Broncos missed the playoffs, finishing 6-10 and in third place in the AFC West.
“Last year didn’t go the way we wanted it to but I think it made me a better football player, it made me a better person, made me tougher,” Keenum said. “And it taught me what it really means to have a team really count on your quarterback to make plays down the stretch when you really need to. It’s something I’m excited to grow from, something I’m excited to learn from and implement this next year with the Redskins.”
The previous year in Minnesota, Keenum led the Vikings to a 12-4 record and NFC North divisional championship, and further guided them to the conference championship, the team’s first appearance there in eight years. In 15 games, Keenum completed 67.6 percent of his passes for 3,547 yards and 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Keenum, a Wylie, Texas, native, also had previous stints with the Los Angeles and St. Louis Rams and began his career as a member of the Houston Texans, who signed him as an undrafted rookie in 2012.
As he gets ready to play for his fourth team in as many years, Keenum is particularly excited to learn from an offensive coaching staff that has a wealth of experience at the quarterback position.
“I’ve never played for a head coach, offensive coordinator, and quarterbacks coach that all played quarterback,” Keenum said. “So, somebody that understands what we’re looking at, someone that has been in our shoes, to be in a quarterback friendly system, I’m really excited. It’s a really talented team across the board, so with a few guys staying healthy and few calls going our way, I think we have a real shot at this thing to go and win the big one. That’s what we all want to do, I got a taste of playoff football and got to the NFC Championship a couple of years ago and I’ll tell you that just left a hunger in me and I don’t want to just get back to that game, I want to win it.”
Gruden remembers watching Keenum at the University of Houston – where Keenum remains the all-time NCAA leader in pass completions (1,546), passing yards (19,217) and passing touchdowns (155) – and the feistiness he exhibited as a leader.
“I’m very excited,” Gruden said. “Case has played a lot of football he’s been in quite a few different systems so he’s kind of all over the place in his learning curve but he’s a veteran guy, played a lot of snaps, very competitive, and I’m anxious to work with him.”
For Keenum, the next couple of months will be about gathering information, adapting to a new culture and embracing his next opportunity.
“I think learning from my teammates, learning about the people they are, not just players that I’ve watched and admired from afar, but getting to know them and their families and build relationships with them, the coaches, the people in the building you know just add to the culture that coach Gruden and Mr. Snyder have implemented and have done such a great job of putting in place there with the Redskins and I want to be there and be a part of that, and continue to build that and that’s just being the best person I can be on and off the field. You know, that’s before the ‘X’s and O’s,’ you know and that’s before we step onto the field, you know I think getting to know people and really help building that culture that they’ve already done such a great job of implementing.”